Motorcycle bias is an unfair, but real thing that many riders face when trying to recover compensation for damages after a crash. If you are the injured rider, it could mean getting far less compensation than you should.
There are many assumptions about the kind of people who ride motorcycles. Stereotypes of riders in Hollywood, on TV commercials and elsewhere only boost this image, representing motorcyclists as dangerous, reckless riders who often ignore traffic laws.
At Anderson & Cummings, we discuss motorcycle bias and what it means to riders during the legal process of an injury claim. We also discuss things a knowledgeable attorney can do to overcome this bias that may help to ensure you are fairly compensated for your damages.
Injured in a motorcycle crash with another vehicle? We encourage you to seek legal help as soon as possible. Waiting too long to call an attorney means valuable evidence could get lost or destroyed.
Call today to request a FREE case review. (817) 920-9000
What is Motorcycle Bias and Why Does it Exist?
Motorcycle bias may sound like something someone made up, but it is a real thing. In simple terms, it refers to the way people think or the assumptions people make against anyone who rides a motorcycle. Unfortunately, these assumptions are not just unfair, they are often untrue and apply general statements to all riders.
What Are Some of the Most Common Types of Motorcycle Bias?
People make a lot of assumptions about motorcycle riders. Here are a few of the most common biases and statements people think or make against riders:
Motorcycle Riders Are Thrill Seekers Who Drive Recklessly
There are some motorcycle riders who fit this description. You could also say the same about many drivers. However, this statement does not apply to all riders any more than it does to all drivers. Most often, motorcyclists who are reckless are younger riders with less experience. Many riders actively seek out additional training to hone their driving skills and make them safer on the road.
Motorcyclists Drive Too Fast
In addition to assuming all riders are reckless, many people mistakenly believe they all drive too fast. Like motorists, there are some crashes caused by riders and/or drivers due to speeding. However, the NHTSA reports that only 34 percent of all motorcycle crashes are due to speeding. The average speed of motorcycles in a crash is roughly 30 mph, while the speed at impact is around 21.5 mph.
Motorcycles Are Annoyingly Loud and Hard to See
Motorcycles are inherently loud, and these vehicles can also be harder to see. These are inherent features of a motorcycle, so in that sense, both of these statements are true. The problem is that the underlying assumption is that motorcycle riders are also loud, boisterous, aggressive and prone to certain types of behavior.
That said, the engine noise is a positive feature. Pedestrians and cyclists are more likely to hear these vehicles approaching. The louder engine also alerts drivers that a motorcycle is nearby, even if they cannot initially see them.
Motorcyclists Assume the Inherent Risk as a Rider
Insurance companies, jury members, and even police officers or a judge, if a case goes to trial, may wrongly assume that all motorcycles bear the greater risk of riding these vehicles. However, we do not automatically assume a driver should bear risk just because he or she is driving a car. We investigate a crash to determine the cause and to ensure liability is placed fairly where it belongs.
How Could Motorcycle Bias Hurt My Claim?
Motorcycle bias could hurt your claim in a number of ways.
- Hurts your credibility: The predisposed assumptions of insurers, police officers, jury members and even the judge may cast doubt on your credibility. Credibility is everything in a claim and impacts whether your account of how the crash occurred is believable or not.
- Unfair statements on the police report: If the first responder investigating and documenting your crash is biased against motorcycle riders, it could result in an unfair or even inaccurate account of events. Police reports are looked on as trustworthy by a jury, so this could make it harder to prove your claim.
- Witnesses may give biased accounts: Bystanders who may or may not have seen the crash may impose their bias in a statement, automatically assuming the motorcycle rider was the at-fault party.
- Insurers may devalue or deny your claim: At the end of the day, this is the biggest problem. If you cannot prove your case, and bias is stacked against you, you may get significantly less compensation or none at all.
- Court trial may rule against you: Even if your case makes it to court, and most of them do not, you may not fare any better. If jury members and/or the judge are guilty of motorcycle bias, you may not be able to overcome it enough to win your case.
What Can I Do About Motorcycle Bias in an Injury Claim?
Dealing with motorcycle bias on your own may be difficult. However, there are things you can do before a crash ever happens that can help to overcome motorcycle bias, such as:
- Get licensed before you ride: Do not take a motorcycle on public roads if you are not licensed.
- Seek additional training: This is a great way to hone your skills and make you a safer rider, especially if you only get on your bike a few times a year. It also shows you are a responsible rider.
- Wear protective gear: Wear a helmet, eyewear, heavy jacket and long pants and other protective gear. This can better protect you in a crash, but it also paints a picture of someone who is responsible and safety-minded.
- Wear a helmet camera: While this step may seem extreme to some riders, it could provide solid evidence if another driver is lying about events leading up to the crash.
- Get your injuries examined: Immediately seek medical attention at a nearby emergency room. This step protects your health and links your injuries to the crash. It can also show that you were hurt enough to need medical care. It may seem a small thing, but insurance companies, judges and jury members tend to look more favorably on injury victims who seek medical care right away rather than putting it off until later.
- Make a habit of driving safely: Having a clean driving record can go a long way to make you a credible victim.
An Attorney Can Help You Overcome Bias
Having an experienced Fort Worth motorcycle accident lawyer could benefit you and help you to overcome motorcycle bias using:
- Photos of the crash scene and vehicle damage
- CCTV (traffic camera) or dash cam footage, if available
- Photos of your injuries
- Testimony from a credible witness
- Your relevant medical records
- Prior driving history of the at-fault driver – there may be a history of traffic violations
- Testimony from other experts, such as a medical expert or accident reconstruction specialist
Deadlines apply in Texas, as in other states, and it is important to remember that a lawyer needs time to investigate your crash and gather evidence. It is also important to mention that if you delay seeking legal help, critical evidence, such as camera footage, could be lost or destroyed.
Do You Have a Motorcycle Crash Claim? Call Our Firm Today
At Anderson & Cummings, we know how to overcome unfair motorcycle bias and protect your legal interests. We have the staff and resources to fully investigate your case and gather the strong evidence you need to support your claim.
Find out if you may have legal options at no cost or risk to you. Our staff is always available to take your call. If you have a case and we represent you, there is nothing for you to pay up front. We only get paid if you do.
Request a FREE case review of your motorcycle crash today. (817) 920-9000